How to grow ornithogalum

Written by james marshall | 13/05/2017

Ornithogalum is a genus of flowering plants that originate from southern Europe. Ornithogalum umbellatum, or common star-of-Bethlehem, is one of the most well-known plants in this genus. This plant grows to about 1 foot in height and bears clusters of white flowers with six petals. Gardeners value Ornithogalum for its flowers and typically propagate it from the bulbs. It can grow as a perennial in temperate climates.

Select a planting site for Ornithogalum. It grows well in full sun and partial shade. The soil should be rich gardening soil with good drainage. Ornithogalum can thrive in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 4 through 8, meaning the minimum temperature during the year should be between minus 30 and 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Obtain Ornithogalum bulbs from a commercial seed provider in the fall before the first frost. Mature bulbs should be about an inch in diameter. Ensure the Ornithogalum bulbs you buy will be hardy in your climate.

Dig holes in the soil bed about 5 inches deep and 2 to 3 inches apart. Limit the number of Ornithogalum bulbs to 25 per square foot. Plant a bulb in each hole and fill the holes with gardening soil.

Water the Ornithogalum bulbs thoroughly after planting. Keep the soil moist during the growing season and discontinue watering after the plant goes dormant in the fall.

Fertilise Ornithogalum with manure in early April. Cut the flowers that bloom in May to make bouquets, but leave the foliage to nourish the plant. Apply a light fertiliser each month until the end of summer.

Remove the dead foliage from Ornithogalum plants after they go dormant. Trim established plants as needed to prevent them from becoming invasive.

Things you need

  • Garden trowel
  • General fertiliser

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